When I saw that another Fratello Collector’s Week was coming up, I realized that it was perfect timing. You see, recently, I’ve reached a state of reflection and calm about my watch-buying habits. After being a blatant watch hoarder for a little over two years, I feel like I’m getting better and better at finding the watches that match my style and taste. As such, I’ve become more of a satisfied possessor, enjoying the watches I own without constantly thinking about what should leave or enter the watch box. Let me tell you how I got here, and let’s also take a glance at what’s ahead.
I find it hard to believe, but it has only been two-and-a-half years since I bought my first mechanical watch. Last year, before I even thought of joining the Fratello team, I wrote an article on how I became a “watch collector” in confinement. I almost felt ashamed of myself when I reread that article. I look like a reckless child buying every single watch that passed by on his Instagram feed, only to sell them on after a very short period of time. But I’m glad to see that some watches are still with me, and I do think that my hoarding phase actually helped me a great deal in determining the kind of watches I like and, even more importantly, don’t like.
Put your blinders on and go!
Like many watch enthusiasts, I didn’t know I was going to be where I am now when I bought that first Oris Art Blakey. But whenever I research a certain watch, there are always other watches that pique my interest. One thing led to another, and suddenly, I found myself looking at a filled-up watch box and a few quartz beaters on the side. Yes, I made those decisions and thought every purchase through. But with the lockdowns as an excuse, it was mostly me, myself, and I, unable to try out any watches unless I bought them. And I guess that’s exactly what I did.
But that also meant there were some hits and misses along the way. And that’s okay because the experience of selling the watches that didn’t really resonate with me also taught me a lot. I worked my way into the watch forums. I was confronted with the fact that not all watches hold their value very well. But, most importantly, I got to know other enthusiasts who had already been through the exact same journey I was going through. And those people really opened up a whole new world for me.
Meeting other enthusiasts and their watches
In buying and selling some of my watches, I had a few one-on-ones at people’s kitchen tables. They would show me their watches and tell me about their hits and misses. First of all, those encounters were so much fun. But they also taught me a lot about watches and helped me to better determine what I liked and didn’t like. I got to know more and more people, and when the lockdowns started to ease up, I started to attend watch get-togethers more frequently. And those were a real revelation for me — a proper rite of passage, you could say.
Being at a meet-up with about 40 enthusiasts who put all their watches together on a big table sobered me up quite quickly, I can tell you. There were watches I had dreamed of owning. There were watches I had thought of buying. But, best of all, there were a lot of watches I had never even considered trying on. And again, hearing the experiences of other enthusiasts really helped me to not step into the same traps that they had. I think all these encounters really showed me that the hobby wasn’t all about researching, buying, and selling. Most of all, it’s about having fun with others who feel exactly the same about watches as I do.
Coming to terms with my possessions
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve tried hard to avoid using the words “collector” and “collection” up to this point. Just like Lex, I don’t really see myself as a watch collector yet. Apart from the fact that my watches match my style, there’s no real theme linking them together. The watches I have in my possession have been bought quite randomly. And even though I have learned quite a bit about them, I still have so much more to learn. I must say that I’ve now been able to get rid of the noise in my watch box, but still doesn’t mean that I have a very clear idea about where I’d like to go next. For now, it’s still too early to call it a collection. Instead, I’ll call it my “possession”, which makes me a “possessor”, I guess.
So where do we go from here?
In the beginning, I didn’t really have a clear strategy, and I still don’t. There’s also no clearly defined theme. But I did think about covering some bases. With the Oris Art Blakey, I already had a dress watch, so I also wanted to add a diver, a chronograph, a field watch, and so on. As a result, the watches I now have in my possession are all fairly different types of watches. I’ve covered most of the bases. In that sense, I’m very happy with what I have. But now I have to find out whether it’s really necessary to cover them all, or if I’d just like to concentrate on a few types or even one type of watch.
For now, I truly enjoy the variety, and I think I can hold out for a while with the watches I currently own. Of course, there are other watches that I might like to add. But I noticed that my acquired taste in watches has become quite expensive. With almost every watch purchase, I’ve broken my own record for the highest amount evet spent on a watch. Consequently, I feel like I’ve reached a ceiling, at least for now.
And that’s a good thing because the watches on my wish list often exceed that price ceiling. I don’t know whether it’s because I now work at Fratello or simply because we always want to transcend what we already have. But honestly, for now, I don’t have a clear idea of what my next step will be. So for the time being, I’ll call myself a satisfied possessor. I don’t know if I’ll ever become a serious collector. I’m also not sure what the criteria are to become one. But, as they say, I guess time will tell!
You can find and follow me on Instagram @fliptheparrot